I am one year old this month.
Well, at least my editing business is. [grin]
There are several changes taking place during this milestone, many of which I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. In celebration, I thought I’d share how I became a freelance editor. I promise it’s more interesting than just picking up a red pen and reading a how-to editing book.
It all started in a galaxy far, far away… a young author sent her work to a freelance editor. It came back covered in red. The author studied the notes, she learned the concepts, she took a few classes and then started editing for friends, critique groups, and a few authors. Something in her mind awoke…a little editing bug. And from that day forward, it only grew until this author knew, deep down, someday she wanted to be a freelance editor, too.
The Ordinary World
I was trapped in a side job. It had turned into an emotionally harmful environment and I needed to quit. But my husband and I were barely making rent and my meager income covered the monthly groceries. I wondered, “Should I really leave? Or is this just a trial I need to push through?”
After a particularly crushing work day, I went home and took a long shower, praying, “God, what am I supposed to do? We need this income. Where will I get another job in this small town? Will I ever have a job that feels…right?”
The Call to Adventure
That’s when freelance editing entered my head. I truly believe God put it there — more accurately, he shouted it into my mind, echoing off the bathroom tiles. Aside from being an author, I’d always viewed freelance editing as a dream job. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time reading adventure novels and helping make them better?
The Hero’s Refusal of the Call
“I can’t do that,” I responded. “I have no idea how to start a business and I have no credentials to my name other than my word that I have editing skills.” No one knew me. I didn’t even have a book published. So I kept my side job, despite the urge that I ought to quit and trust God to provide.
Meeting with the Mentor (aka. God)
But then I thought deeper, prayed harder, and talked to my husband. Verses about God’s knowledge of my desires cropped up everywhere. We both came to the conclusive question, why shouldn’t I pursue a dream? After all, God blessed me with an eye for editing. He’s the only credential I need.
Crossing the First Threshold
The confirming factor came when I was forced to quit my side job. If I didn’t quit, another employee would potentially lose her position, and she needed the paycheck as much as I did. So I stepped down and stepped into editing shoes. I threw a website and bio together within a week, slathered it in desperate prayer, and hit the internet with a launch week special.
Clients flowed in. The first day of the special, I just fell backward on my bed and laughed, thinking, God, You’re amazing! It was working. I’d started my dream job.
I felt completely unqualified, despite my eye for editing. Surely people would dislike the fact I didn’t have credentials. Surely they’d receive my edits and say, “Hey, you’re a fraud!” But they never did. Authors came back again and a clientele grew. Every day, I was reminded that God qualified me for this. He called me to it in my hour of need.
In the past year, I’ve yet to have a day that felt like “work.”
So how is this applicable to you? I learned that God wants us to pursue our dreams. I know this sounds a little like a Disney mantra, and maybe that’s why it surprised me. I somehow grew up thinking, “If I don’t like it, that must mean it’s God’s will.”
But He knows the desires of our hearts — He creates the desires of our hearts when we’re seeking him. He knows your dreams. In my mind, freelance editing was so far-fetched I didn’t even consider it might actually happen. But when it did happen, I realized I hadn’t even mentally given God the chance to show me it was possible. He had to make the suggestion before I listened.
My encouragement to you: listen. And don’t be afraid to pursue what you think is impossible.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. (Ps. 126:1-3)
What dreams do you have, that you consider far-fetched? Do you ever see yourself doing them someday?